Christ almighty, why do I continue to subject myself to M. Night Shyamalan movies? Perhaps it’s because inwardly, I want him to improve. I want him to reach the heights he reached when he first exploded on the scene and before his obviously overblown ego got in the way. I want the guy not to suck but, for some reason, he insists on sucking.
After Earth is the latest example of his slow and painful slide into Shitsville. In it, Will Smith is a General in Space Army sometime in the future when mankind has left Earth and has gone to the stars to fuck things up there too. The Fresh General is a cold and detached man thanks to his ability to fight aliens who attack people showing emotion (no, I’m not making this up) and, on the verge of retirement, he takes a trip with his estranged son played by Jaden Smith. Of course, before they get to wherever the hell they were going, they crash in the most dangerous place ever… Earth… Which is full of dangerous animals now for some goddamn reason.
Unlike the other M. Night Shyamalan movies, After Earth isn’t that bad. It’s an almost passable mess as opposed to his latest feats of fuckery. It could be that he’s on his way back up, or it could be that The Last Airbender must makes everything else look good by comparison. Who am I kidding? The Last Airbender makes AIDs look good by comparison.
So, After Earth is kind of sort of passable. It is by no means a good movie, but it is something tolerable. The real bitch of After Earth is that it is really not that far from being average, but Jaden Smith kills it. It must be nice to get a job by nepotism, otherwise this monotone mutant wouldn’t be able to get work at a Magic Time Machine… as a cook.
If you don’t get that joke, Google it.
Jaden Smith is so awful in this role that the human language has yet to come up with a word to adequately express his badness. To do so would be like trying to explain what the color red looks like to a blind person. Going through the movie with some of the most pathetic puppy dog eyes you ever have seen, every goddamn word that comes out of his mouth is whiney and irritating.
Will Smith, who I actually do like as an actor, doesn’t do much better. Playing cold and detached is one thing, making your character an emotionless asshole is another – it’s a choice. Perhaps Mr. Smith really wasn’t in to this movie? Maybe he didn’t care? Maybe he should goddamn deal with it because he makes millions of dollars a movie and should fucking try harder.
So, you’ve got a story with more holes than a screen door, a leading man who doesn’t appear to give two shits, and then Jaden Smith who is to acting as turtles are to auto racing. In theory, what we have is a complete disaster and, yes… it is a disaster, but not a complete one. After Earth is bad, but it’s not a completely terrible movie. Unlike M. Night’s moronic piles of movie manure, this one at least has its moments.
The special effects are nice, it’s got some okay action, and the ideas in the movie are better than average so those things save it from being a complete turd. As it stands, After Earth is a partial turd – a Shyamalan cinematic poop nugget.
And yeah, it’s about as much fun to watch as that makes it sound.